To recognise International Women’s Day 2020, we wanted to shine a spotlight on some of the incredible women who make up the Trafalgar family. Whether leading teams in our offices around the world, or helping to deliver the very best travel experiences on the road, the women of Trafalgar challenge gender stereotypes, champion each other and pave for the way for other women within the travel industry, all whilst being supported by a business that has celebrated and recognised women for 100 years – The Travel Corporation.
In this three part special, we’ll be showcasing 3 extraordinary ladies who have seen their lives changes and blossom whilst working for TTC. Ladies who lead by example, and who inspire others through their tenacity and passion.
In this edition, we sit down with Joy Burridge, General Brand Manager for Trafalgar, who has worked with TTC for over 20 years…
What does your daily job entail?
It’s an exciting and challenging one! The cliché of ‘no day is the same’ certainly rings true! Our small office team is extended by 310 Travel Directors who take care of our guests once they arrive on their trip of a lifetime. In a nutshell, we aim to continually monitor our product, our teams and to ensure we deliver what we promise.
What has kept you with TTC for so long?
I’ve been very fortunate to have had a variety of positions since joining TTC, which has meant that I’ve never not been challenged. This invariably means that I’ve always had opportunities.
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How do you think you have changed personally during your time with TTC?
20 years is quite a long time and given that I started working with TTC in my early 20’s, I’ve literally grown up with the company. All the different positions I have been in – guest-facing at the LRC, working for a youth brand, my character building role with our Israeli groups and Custom Groups – have all meant so much, and massively influenced who I am today.
I also met my now-husband at TTC and I had my son working for the organisation, so these major pivotal personal adventures have all become part of my career here. And not only that, I’ve also made lifelong friends through work, who are more like family to me. They completely know me inside out and still love me!
How do you think TTC supports women and offers them the chance to grow professionally?
When I look around at work, I am surrounded by strong women, all of whom I can completely depend upon. All of these women have been provided with opportunities to grown within TTC just like me; who have embraced change and who challenge themselves daily.
There does seem to be a ceiling within other areas of the travel industry, but TTC truly does empower woman to reach senior and influential positions.
How does Trafalgar’s support impact the lives of local women in Europe?
A wonderful example of this is in Jordan, where our trips visit the Iraq Al Amir Women’s Cooperative. Unemployment in Jordan for women is around 33% in urban areas, and even higher in rural areas, which makes the Cooperative a life line. Founded by the Noor Al-Hussein Foundation in 1993, it aims to make the women of the area financially independent, and to raise their standard of living by increasing their income and preserving local heritage. Managed and run by local women, the cooperative has provided training projects for more than 150 women from all villages of Wadi Seer, on a variety of handicrafts. As the cooperative is managed and run by members of the community, it has created job opportunities for women of all ages. The cooperative teaches the local women how to make a variety of different heritage products, which are also sold in the gift shop, and online.
The TreadRight grant, delivered in partnership with Tourism Cares, allows the organization to consistently have the necessary materials on hand, complete a build-out of their gift shop, provide merchandising expertise, and allow the group to expand their food services, creating more income opportunities for the cooperative’s members.
Why do you think it is so important for women to travel, and see how other women live around the world?
I think travel brings woman courage. Through travel, you can learn that things will be ok and even when they don’t go to plan, it’s putting you beyond your comfort zone. It also helps to foster cross-cultural awareness, and the knowledge of how to behave in different settings.
Do you think the travel industry offers opportunities for women, more so than other industries?
International Women’s Day not only recognises women for their achievements – regardless of their age, background, ethnicity or occupation – it highlights the need for a more gender-balanced world. For the travel industry specifically, whilst women are clearly the dominant consumers and sellers of travel, we still need to see their opinions reflected in the highest decision-making positions across the industry, as they are at TTC.